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Is Amazon's Fire phone a game changer?

Posted: , by Florin T.

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Is Amazon's Fire phone a game changer?
Every now and then, some company launches a device that’s bound to revolutionize the market, and, next thing you know, everyone else wants to make products similar to it - or at least to steal some of its features. 

Yesterday, Amazon announced its first smartphone (simply called the Fire phone), and we were wondering if it could be considered a game changer. As you may know, one of the novelties that the handset offers is Firefly - Amazon’s new software-based service that uses the phone’s rear camera to recognize an impressive number of items (more than 100 million). After Firefly recognizes an item, it provides info about it, and allows you to instantly buy it. Having an Amazon Fire phone in your pocket means that you always have a pretty powerful shopping machine at your fingertips (which, let’s face it, isn’t necessarily a good thing for your bank account).

Is Amazon's Fire phone a game changer?
capabilities aside, the Fire phone comes with a "dynamic perspective" 3D interface, which is years ahead of the 3D smartphone UIs we’ve seen until now. Amazon actually spent about 4 years developing the technology for this. The new interface doesn’t provide just visual treats, it also enables gesture-based commands (for example, you can tilt the phone to scroll through web pages).

Another thing that the Fire phone has is Mayday, Amazon’s free, live, on-device video support that almost instantly helps you use the handset at its full potential. You can see all the other new features of the Amazon Fire phone in this post.

The handset can already be pre-ordered, and will be launched on July 25. It’s available exclusively on AT&T, for $199.99 (32GB) or $299.99 (64GB) on contract. But you’re not paying just for the phone itself, as Amazon is throwing in a one-year Amazon Prime subscription, which normally costs $99.99.

Amazon already changed something: online shopping. Is its first phone a product that can change the mobile market? Cast your votes in the poll bellow, and chime in in the comments if you have more to say on this.

Phonearena polls
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Is the Amazon Fire phone a game changer?
668 votes
(668 votes) Yes
1691 votes
(1691 votes) No

2359 votes

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posted on 19 Jun 2014, 18:59 1

1. Vexify (banned) (Posts: 570; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)

I would only consider it a game changer because companies that pack features in their phones will follow them and make their (Amazons) tech better.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 21:45 2

22. TheGenius (Posts: 339; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)

Google might do some brilliant stuff with this!

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 21:51

23. Vexify (banned) (Posts: 570; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)

Agreed :)

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 15:53

44. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 586; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

Hopefully Google does, because this phone being exclusive to AT&T is ridiculous. They're shooting themselves in the foot by doing this. If they want sales, it needs to be with multiple carriers. I don't even get AT&T LTE in the area I live in, and AT&T coverage as a whole is pretty spotty here. Verizon, on the other hand, is strong here with LTE and coverage.

Carriers aside, the features are sound good. Firefly would be incredibly useful, but only being able to use it with Amazon is annoying. More often than not, I buy stuff from eBay because I can look at the seller's reputation and get a feel for the seller. Amazon, on the other hand, cares far less about seller reputation. I've been burned on Amazon far more than I have on eBay.

posted on 21 Jun 2014, 04:22

45. TheGenius (Posts: 339; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)

I really believe that google would add such functionality not in some phone but their glasses.!

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 01:34

29. DerryAhmad (Posts: 278; Member since: 05 May 2012)

I don't consider the Fire Phone as a game changer in the mobile phone industry. Aside from the FireFly which other services (Google's Goggle) or OEM (Xperia's Info eye) has, the other features are quite gimmicky. The screen is not flagship worthy especially considering its price.

However, this phone is sorta a game changer in the mobile-online shopping area. And I think that's the objection Amazon's going for. For people to shop more of their products/services. Backed with the excellent Costumer Service-Mayday, this could be online-shopper's favorite phone.

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 02:02

31. Liveitup (Posts: 1798; Member since: 07 Jan 2014)

Game changing is about being practical instead of gimmicks. Other than that the UI looks like a mixture of WP Metro UI and Android. Waiting for Maclaren to see how useful its features will be, that seems more useful.


posted on 20 Jun 2014, 09:34

40. buccob (Posts: 2571; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

I think the PadFone to be more of a game changer... but marketing and availability was and still is an issue...

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 18:59 3

2. tatail (Posts: 248; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)

No, because of the price. They have priced it very high. The specs look good, and Amazon might sell a lot of these and make loads of money but it is not a game changer.
(Game Changer as in like when iPhone was released back in 2007).
This is not going to anything like that.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 18:59 2

3. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

The One Plus One was more of a game changer because that was about more value for your money, rather than just adding 3D effects and a built-in concierge service onto a proprietary Android-based OS. The Fire Phone is neat, and has fairly killer specs, but it is not really much of a game changer at all.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:11 1

6. vincelongman (Posts: 4516; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

IMO if the OPO was available in stores, then it would be a total game changer, heaps of average consumer would have got it as well
But since you need invites and its not in store or well advertised, its not gonna be much of a game changer IMO

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:17 2

7. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

Agreed... the One Plus One is a game changer for what it is as a phone for the low price, and not so much for how it is being invite-only-distributed (or basically not distributed at all to the general consumer population).

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:40 3

11. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

... but, the Amazon Fire Phone is just another $650+ flagship device, no matter how unique the unique features on it are. Most of its main features are common among flagship devices these days... Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 13 Mpixel rear camera with OIS, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, LTE, and others... we have had 3D interfaces on phones before (remember the HTC EVO 3D?), and that feature did not suddenly become common after that, so I just don't know if the Fire Phone will be different enough, or spectacular enough, to make a difference in the long run with 3D effects alone. The concierge service that is Mayday may be handy, and Firefly may be nice, but will they really put this device reliably ahead of the rest in some way? I just don't see it yet.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:44

13. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 2207; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)

I disagree. The Nexus phones are cheap, and a fair value proposition, as is the Moto G, and both lines are from established companies, yet neither has enjoyed true commercial success. Cheap and from a company nobody in the mainstream knows is a recipe for a lukewarm reception. The OPO phone only thrills those who prioritize cheap over everything else.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 20:01 3

15. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

The Moto G hardly has the specs of a flagship device. The Nexus devices, though, get a bit closer to that mark. Motorola and Google ARE mainstream companies, and so their commercial failures may not be a perfect indication of the success or failure of a no-name like One Plus. Remember, the One Plus One has better specs than even the Amazon Fire Phone in quite a few areas (3GB of RAM, 5.5 inch screen, 401 ppi display, among others), and so defining the One Plus One as a phone just for those seeking the cheapest price is not really a valid description. There are cheaper options, like the Moto G, but they won't give you anywhere near the specs that the OPO will give you... granted, you can only get a OPO by invitation. If I was to get an invite, at least the OPO, at $299, would be closer to being within striking range for me than a Fire Phone, an LG G3, or a Galaxy S5, and would have better specs than either a Nexus 5 or a Moto X for a similar or lower price.

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 03:29

34. Bondurant (Posts: 430; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)

Every idiot can make a one plus one, by cramming in the latest chip on the device, outsourcing UI to Cyanogenmod and selling the phone for manufacturing price and only 100 phones per month. I wont buy them even if they give it for free.

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 11:33

42. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

If every idiot could do it, then why is the OPO the only flagship-grade device that sells for $300 or less? Even the Nexus 5 is more expensive, and has lower specs. The Moto X is more expensive, and has lower specs. I guess you could argue that there are plenty of Chinese white-box OEM's that make similarly-priced or lower-priced devices, but none of them spring for Qualcomm silicon - all the half-decent ones go with MediaTek, and the others are generally junk or resort to much lower specs in other areas. If every idiot could make a OPO, then every white-box OEM would be making their own OPO, and that just isn't the case.

Now, that said, I am not likely to ever get invited to buy an OPO. Furthermore, even if I did get an invite, I don't have $300 to throw at buying one. The Moto G is much closer in price to the amount of money I'd be willing to shell out for a new phone, and I'm not really a specs junkie, after all. I can respect the specs, but I am perfectly happy with a device that has the specs of my LG Viper... basic 5 Mpix camera, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, though it would be nice to have the latest Android rather than being stuck with ICS. Heck, I don't even really need LTE connectivity right now. When a phone like the Viper (but with the latest version of the OS) becomes available for $100 or less off-contract, then I'll be a really happy camper.

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 05:21

37. vincelongman (Posts: 4516; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Like I said before the about the OPO

The Nexus 5 is not advertised, most important reason IMO, avery consumers don't even know the Nexus 5, not to mention buying it from the Play Store

The Nexus 5 is in store for ~$400-500 (not sure what exactly), many people still buy instore, its not $300 like the OPO or $350 like on the Play Store

Also buying the Play Store is very country limited, only about ~10 countries. For example in my, NZ, the Nexus 5 is $600, the G2 is $800, so the G2 is not too much more (however the S5/M8/5S are ~$1000)

Also like domfonusr the Moto G is a budget phone, so its completely different to the Nexus 5 or OPO

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 02:22

32. MySchizoBuddy (Posts: 151; Member since: 23 Aug 2011)

so game changing phone is one that is cheap. Hmm then All cheap Chinese phones are now game changers

posted on 20 Jun 2014, 11:38

43. domfonusr (Posts: 384; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)

Nope. One that is cheap, and yet offers really good specs on decent components. Find me any other white-box device that has Qualcomm silicon, a 13 Mpix camera, LTE connectivity, and a similar screen, and then I'll take notice.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:05 14

4. Johnnokia (Posts: 1094; Member since: 27 May 2012)

I am seeing only gimmicks.. Not innovative features as they say

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:10 2

5. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

If they put a higher resolution screen inside a better looking body without the overly high price tag, the chances would increase slightly although its looking to premature now. Still good nonetheless though, just not great.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:27 2

8. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2278; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)

It might not be a "game changer" but it has brought out, something different to the table. Unlike any other top notch phones that are out now..SGSS5 (gimmicky pulse reader) LG3 (2K screen) but nice tho,, xperia Z (absolutely nothing)? What else?????.....i say give amazon some props .. For trying something that is different...yea I know its an carrier exclusive..but who cares. I'm on att ,haha!!

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:30 4

9. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)

"Does the Fire Phone put Amazon in your pocket -- or does it put you in Amazon's pocket? All signs point to the latter"


Amazon raises the bar in just how much you can screw the customer and get away with it.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:40 1

10. Vexify (banned) (Posts: 570; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)

Exactly. We become the product, not their phone -.-

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:40 1

12. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

I could live with it if the phone was super cheap and available on every carrier. But at $200 on contract and only on AT&T it's too much vs iPhone and Android. To me it's a step higher than that Facebook phone but still below so many options currently on the market.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 19:59 5

14. a_merryman (Posts: 749; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)

I want to know why the people who answered yes think it is a game changer.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 20:03

16. imkyle (Posts: 1074; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

This is type of phone you need to see in person before making any judgments.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 20:08 2

17. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

Over priced digital shopping cart.
A sign other retail giants may follow too.

Hoping the flood gates aren't opened already.

posted on 19 Jun 2014, 20:23 1

18. fzacek (Posts: 2486; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)

There are other apps that do what Firefly does, so it isn't much of a revolutionary feature...

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